Taking care of a loved one who has dementia can become increasingly difficult and stressful. As focus turns more to the needs of the loved one, people providing such care may feel they have little time and energy to put toward their own well-being.
Research has shown that aging and chronic stress can have negative effects on health, including immune function and psychological well-being. The challenges of caregiving can be a source of ongoing stress, especially as we get older. In fact, compared to non-caregivers, older individuals who care for someone with dementia tend to experience higher levels of emotional distress, are at higher risk for depression, and have less responsive immune systems.
Finding effective strategies to reduce stress and promote well-being might lead to better immune function and improved overall wellness.
Research studies are being conducted by the University of Rochester to determine effective ways to manage stress and improve wellness for individuals caring for a loved one with dementia. These studies are examining effects of various brief programs on caregivers’ well-being, stress and immune health, and may include approaches in healthy living as a caregiver, mindfulness, and social connectedness.
You may be eligible for a study if you are at least age 55 and are caring for a loved one (spouse, parent, close friend, etc.) who has dementia of any type or stage of progression.
Study participation is for the person caring for a loved one only (the caregiver); nothing would be requested of the individual with dementia.
In-person visits may or may not be required, depending on study. Study visits, if necessary, are flexibly scheduled for your convenience. These visits typically occur at the U of R (free parking), but some visits may be conducted in your home, if you prefer. In all cases, current COVID-19 safety guidance will be followed.
Monetary compensation is provided for study participation.
To learn more about a study, or to find out if you are eligible, please call:
(585) 275-6835 or email us at: email@example.com.
"Improving Well-Being for Older Adult Family Dementia Caregivers” is investigating the health effects of two brief programs designed to help manage stress, and improve wellness and immune function. Program participation would involve a weekly small-group meeting at Lifespan with other individuals age 55 and up who are caring for a loved one with dementia.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teaches a variety of approaches to reducing stress and aims to improve overall wellness. Led by a clinical psychologist, the program employs various methods for promoting relaxation and awareness of physical experiences, emotions and thoughts.
Living Well for Dementia Caregivers covers a variety of topics relevant to health and well-being, all within the context of dementia caregiving. Facilitated by trained Alzheimer’s Association staff, this program enables a supportive environment to best address the interests of the participants.
Respite care options may be available through Lifespan for your loved one while you attend the weekly meeting—contact the study team to learn more.
Study procedures also include flexibly scheduled study visits at the U of R (free parking); or, if you prefer, some visits can occur in your home. Program participation and all study procedures are provided free of charge. Subjects will receive up to $200 for participation in the study.
Enrollment for 2022 will stay open June thru late August. Then, the study programs (MBSR and Living Well) are expected to begin at the start of September.
People caring for a loved one with dementia are still needed for this research—please contact the study team (585-275-6835) soon for more information.
This study is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and has been approved by the University of Rochester Research Subjects Review Board (STUDY0000881).
Note: The study “Brain Training to Promote Health in Family Dementia Caregivers” closed enrollment in April 2021. THANK YOU very much to all who had inquired about that study, and especially to all who participated!!
Please know that the University of Rochester provides researchers with guidelines to help ensure study activities are conducted safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our study team follows these guidelines carefully for the protection of our subjects, staff, and the community. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have regarding study participation during this challenging time.
"Research to Promote Caregiver Well-Being" UofR
Principal Investigator Kathi Heffner PhD, (right) and former/retired Investigator Jan Moynihan, PhD (left)